We Americans spend a lot on a celebration. Every year we spend at least 649 million dollars on fireworks. On Halloween costumes and candy we spend 9 billion dollars, on Christmas decorations 6 billion Some would say that is extravagant. When it comes to Jesus however are we that extravagant? Today’s scriptures tell the story of one such extravagant display directed towards Jesus and the reaction of others toward it.
What anointing meant– when we anoint someone with oil and pray for healing today, we will usually dab a spot on their forehead and then pray over that person. But how it was actually done was a horn of oil was poured out completely over the head of the person drenching their face and clothes. You definitely would have to take a bath afterword. Kings and priest where both anointed. This signified that they were chosen by God. Christ literally means anointed. Both kings and priests were anointed and Jesus was both.
A costly gesture-This perfumed oil was worth three hundred denarii which is almost a year’s wages. The expensive perfume was imported and most likely part of a dowry that would be given when she was married. But she chose to pour this out on Jesus. an act of extravagance and utter devotion to Christ the anointed one. Why? Well, consider that her brother was raised from the dead by Jesus. Wouldn’t you be utterly devoted to the one that could do this?
- Not everyone will understand or appreciate your devotion to Jesus– Notice the reaction of the guests. They were indignant. They were offended by her extravagant display of devotion to Jesus. In their minds what she did was unnecessary, wasteful and could have been used for better purposes. But Jesus told them to leave her alone and affirmed that she had done a wonderful thing.
If you take your faith seriously you are considered by some to be an extremist and ineligible for serving in any distinguished public role.
There have been a couple of incidents recently where Christians who have been nominated to be judges on the appellate courts were told by senators that they considered their beliefs as Christians too extreme for the court. Because they were pro-life and pro-traditional marriage.
(False equivalence– the belief that all religions have extremist and all extremists are violent) jesus said to pray for those who persecute you, turn the other cheek, love your enemy, Jesus went to the cross himself he didn’t send his enemies there. the only danger an extreme Christian puts you in is being cared for too much or loved too much.
- The false dichotomy of the inward spiritual life vs outward good works-What this woman did was of spiritual significance. when you try to explain worship or the reality of spiritual battle or how prayer works, some will look at you funny. They understand the practical, helping the poor, addressing homelessness and the plights of humanity but the inward spiritual life seems less tangible. This woman, we learn from the other gospel accounts, is Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus learning while her sister Martha was making dinner and when Martha asked Jesus to tell Mary to get in the kitchen Jesus had replied that Mary chose the better thing. Jesus was not discounting the importance of work, or helping others or providing for the poor but was pointing out the priority and importance of spending time with the savior.
- Wells of living water-There is an inward devotion to Christ, sitting at his feet, devoting ourselves to his teaching, resting in his presence and talking to him in prayer that rejuvenates the believers and prepares him or her to deal with the world. All outward work flows from a well of living water within that comes from times of refreshing with God.
- Don’t be discouraged when you see others that seem further along in their spiritual walk– I see so much of this. People accept Jesus into their lives. They struggle to overcome a particular sin and somewhere in their struggles they are exposed to a twisted lie that Questions the power of the gospel to deliver us from our sins and live a repentant holy life as if somehow that is an impossibility.
- This is how the devil tempts the believer as he tempted Adam and Eve to question God he did in the garden. “Did God really say” does the Bible really say that. Did Jesus really deliver you, can you really change, can you really live a holy life?
- After being convinced of the lesser gospel when someone actually breaks the chains of sin and experiences some victory rather than be happy for that person, they have spite and are the first ones to throw doubt at that person’s testimony.
- That’s is a dangerous place to be. If we have the spirit of Christ, we should rejoice for one another. If they seem further along on the journey great maybe we can learn from them and they can encourage us.
- it is the world that pulls other people down to their level to lift themselves up and make themselves feel better But We are to be different.
Surrender can be scary–. Understand that there is a point of surrender a point of leaving yourself behind in order to gain more of Christ and become more like him. we read about and hear about it and think that’s not for us. But we must realize this is not something that can be accomplished in the flesh, it cannot be done with human effort or will power. The gospel is about supernatural transformation. About faith and choosing to believe and stand on God’s Word even when our emotions betray us and we doubt.
why because we have always lived a certain way and believed a certain way. Perhaps we have become comfortable in our walk with Christ whether you have been a Christian very very short time or many years we can all come to a place where we are just cruising along. But Jesus wants us to be filled with his presence, experience his joy, know the pleasure of his fellowship.
2 Corinthians 2:14–16 (ESV)
We are to be the fragrance of Christ in this world. Just like the ointment filled the room that day in Bethany we are to fill wherever we are with the fragrance of Christ. To those who are willing to receive our message we will be a welcoming sweet aroma
Go and smell like Jesus!